The Death of “Doctor Death”

Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from Doug Kutilek’s free newsletter “As I See It,” a monthly electronic magazine, and appears here with some editing. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at

Dr. George TillerOn Sunday morning, May 31, 2009, around 10 a.m., Dr. George Tiller, perhaps the most notorious practitioner of late-term abortions in America, was killed in the lobby of a Lutheran church in east Wichita by a lone gunman who fired a single shot into Tiller’s head. Tiller quickly passed into eternity on the floor of the church lobby. He had survived a previous assassination attempt outside his east Wichita abortuary some fifteen years earlier. (Photo credit: L.A. Times)

The perpetrator fled the scene. A suspect, alleged to be the assassin, was apprehended in the Kansas City area (where he lived) less than four hours later and was returned to Wichita where he was subsequently charged, along with other crimes, with first degree murder. Under Kansas law, this offense does not carry the death penalty.

Though I never met George Tiller, I once met his father, Dr. Jack Tiller, who had a family practice at Oliver and Kellogg in east Wichita back in the 1960s and early 1970s. In high school and for a time in college, I was an afternoon delivery driver for a small pharmaceutical company and occasionally made deliveries to Jack Tiller’s office.

When Jack Tiller died in a plane crash in the early 1970s (I don’t recall the precise year), George, not long out of medical school, came to Wichita to take over his father’s practice. This development was close in time to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to American infanticide. I don’t know if George Tiller ever practiced any kind of “medicine” other than abortion. If so, he soon abandoned it, and the whole of his practice was dealing death to the unborn in cooperation with the mothers of these innocents.

Access to Tiller’s medical records would be necessary to determine precisely how many babies died at his hands over the years, but an estimate of between 10,000 and 20,000 would be conservative. Of those, probably a minimum of between 1,000 and 2,000 would have been full-term or near full-term babies; they, who were completely viable and capable of living outside the womb, were killed in what can only be described as ghastly, barbaric, and unspeakably brutal “partial-birth abortion.” In this procedure the infant, partly emerging from the birth canal, has his skull pierced and his brain vacuumed out.  Comparing Tiller to a Nazi death camp doctor would be unfair … to the Nazi.

That anyone with the smallest spark of conscience could perform such an act and do so repeatedly—day after day, week after week, year after year, for any reason, but especially for the sake of mere money—is incomprehensible to me. I suspect that Tiller’s conscience was seared as with a hot iron. Credible rumor circulated from time to time in Wichita that Tiller was an abuser of both alcohol and illegal drugs. Anesthesia for a screaming conscience?

Over the decades, some often called for legal investigations and prosecutions, especially when, as sometimes happened, not just the infants but the mothers also died from the complications of abortion. Only in the last few months was Tiller finally tried (and acquitted) on some relatively minor charges of failure to consult another independent physician before performing abortion procedures. His long immunity from prosecution has all the appearance of political payback for his substantial contributions to Democrat politicians, including former Kansas Governor (and now Secretary of Health (!) and Human Services) Kathleen Sebellius, to whom Tiller contributed a reported $60,000. The local district attorney also received sizeable contributions from Tiller.

Reaction to the death of Tiller was mixed. Of course, the pro-abortion faction, whom I am sure have never witnessed a partial-birth abortion, expressed outrage and made accusations against the climate of violence supposedly generated by abortion protesters. Tiller himself was given accolades as a wonderful man, a dear friend, a friend to women, and a good Christian man. Such commendation is absolutely incomprehensible to the rational mind.

The pro-lifers in Kansas and elsewhere, who had long opposed Tiller’s heinous slaughter of the unborn, expressed distress at his murder, in as much the pro-lifers are truly pro-LIFE. Yes, they had often picketed his office, petitioned local politicians to legislate him out of business, and did all they could in a non-violent manner to make the killing stop. No doubt many (including myself) had repeatedly prayed for an end to Tiller’s barbarous actions through his repentance and reformation, if possible, or through divine intervention by disease, accident, or other providential act, if necessary. None that I heard or know of called for or condoned his vigilante execution.

The news media provided some broad-brush caricatures of pro-lifers, especially among the local television stations, as though this one assailant’s actions were typical of most or all pro-lifers. In truth, had the tens of thousands of pro-lifers in Kansas and the millions nationwide been as violence oriented as implied, Tiller would have been easily gunned down a thousand times in the past two decades. But, appalling as it was that he spent his days murdering with malice aforethought—and for money—the most innocent and defenseless of all humans, they did not lift a violent hand against him.  The last time any abortionist was gunned down anywhere in America was eleven years ago. A solitary individual committed that crime as well.

Since one man, acting alone, apparently committed the crime against Tiller, it is as unfair to characterize pro-lifers as a group as violent and murderous. It would be equally unfair to characterize everyone living in Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas, as serial killers since one man out of the nearly half million residents, acting alone, perpetrated the notorious series of BTK murders there over a period of three decades. Sure, “all Indians walk single file; at least the one I saw did.”

And if we wish to make broad-brush characterizations, why not conclude that it is Lutherans specifically who are the problem? Tiller was Lutheran (part of an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America congregation, which is almost certainly not theologically conservative), and the media has described the man charged with killing him as Lutheran. Why, even Dennis Rader, “BTK” himself, was Lutheran. Do you not see a common thread here?

Tiller’s three-and-a-half decades and more of systematically and methodically terminating human life was part of the “culture of death” that has grown to such staggering proportions in America. Since Roe v. Wade, more than fifty-one million babies have been “terminated” with government sanction (and often government funding). This statistic is equivalent to killing every person now living in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota combined. This utter cheapening of human life has in part spawned assisted suicide, euthanasia, Columbine High School (and other similar incidents), gang bangers, gansta rappers, and other expressions of utter contempt and disregard for human life. Since it is a government-protected and -sanctioned right to kill innocent human life at will in the womb, who is to say that life outside the womb is of any value either? John Donne was right when he wrote “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” Tiller sowed the wind, he reaped the whirlwind.

I am frankly relieved that, for now, the carnage at this clinic is ended or at least slowed (a “physician” from Nebraska is reportedly covering Tiller’s practice for a week) if only temporarily. But I recognize that somewhere in America or perhaps overseas there is someone who will gladly sell his soul to work the wickedness of abortion, including the late-term kind, and the slaughter in Wichita will probably soon resume. There is otherwise little cause for rejoicing; the 20,000 and more weekly abortions continue unabated nationwide. The only sure remedy to the madness is personal and societal repentance from this great wickedness—or we, too, shall reap the whirlwind. “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson).

Doug KutilekDoug Kutilek is the editor of, a website dedicated to exposing and refuting the many errors of KJVOism and has been researching and writing in the area of Bible texts and versions for more than 35 years. He has a B.A. in Bible from Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Mo.), an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati; and completed all requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation); and a Th.M. in Bible exposition from Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, Minn.). His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Biblical Evangelist, The Baptist Bible Tribune, The Baptist Preacher’s Journal, Frontline, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society and The Wichita Eagle. The father of four grown children and four granddaughters, he resides with his wife Naomi near Wichita, Kansas.


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